Leaders make a difference because they are different themselves. A leader’s function is to influence and inspire the people who look to them for direction, guidance and support. What sets great leaders apart from the masses is not their sex, age, or occupation.
Nor is it their level of education, how much money they earn, where they came from, or whom they know. What sets true leaders apart is their awareness of, and sensitivity to, the needs of others.
Effective leaders inspire others to aim higher, work harder and smarter, accomplish more in less time, and enjoy doing it. When a successful network marketer winds up in the winner’s circle, you can rest assured it wasn’t by accident. It was because you and your team collectively did their job.
A key element at the heart of effective leadership is vision, which can be defined as “seeing with your imagination.” As a leader, it’s essential to know precisely where you are going, and even more importantly, why you are going there. Why do you want what you want? What compels you to do what you do? Your vision can be small or earth shaking, but it must be absolutely clear. As a leader, the clarity or fuzziness of your vision and your commitment to that vision has a direct and vital effect on those on your team.
Leadership is not a position, but rather an action. A leader is simply someone who has the courage to be the example for others to follow. A leader lives constantly under a microscope. Nothing a leader does or says will escape the scrutiny and examination of followers. As a leader your team’s activities and attitudes will simply mirror the example you have set for them. If you don’t return phone calls promptly for instance, your are teaching your team members by our own example, not to follow up.
So, as an aspiring leader we must ask ourselves repeatedly, “what message am I sending? What example am I setting? What environment am I creating?” When you as a leader set out to make a difference your beliefs, words and actions inspire others to follow your example. As a leader, setting the example comes first and foremost. In short, you as the leader are accountable.
As a leader being first or setting new records should not be the objective. There will always be someone who will break your record. It’s who you are and how you live that counts. The position doesn’t make the person. The person makes the position. People are not going to accept you as their leader because you are the number one distributor/associate in the company. They are going to accept you because of the type of person you are deep down inside. Regardless of how good you are in business, people see you first as a person. Your morals and integrity, your relationship with others, everything you are counts. If you are going to be an inspiration for others to follow, they have to first be convinced that you have something valuable to offer them. They’ve got to want to follow your lead in order for you to help them.
So before you can become a great leader, you’ve got to become a great person. A leader has to be a person with real character, who truly projects honesty, integrity, commitment and sincerity. These are important because it is the foundation on which you will build everything else in your life as well as your business.
So, put your principles first. When you do, you’ll find that a lot of your difficult decisions will be already made for you based upon your principles. Let everyone in your organization know what principles and values are important to you. When you stand for something other than just success or money you’ll find that people will want to follow you, because you are someone they are proud to call their leader.
We all want those on our team to provide the highest level of service to their team members and customers. Service is an attitude, not a department, and effective leaders know that service always starts at the top, with just one person: You. A true leader’s slogan should be, “Service starts here.”
The way a leader develops his team is similar to the way a farmer plants his crops. The farmer plant seeds and each one is unique, and according to the law of averages, some will grow and some won’t. The farmer can, however increase his averages and increase his yield, simply by increasing the nourishment and attention given to his crops. It’s your job as a leader to nourish your team and to keep a constant eye out for the weeds of fear, doubt, rejection and other types of negativity that will smother your harvest.
Thus, it is absolutely essential that you, as an effective leader, take full responsibility for everything! Responsibility is defined as “the ability to respond” or “response-ability.” As leaders our job is to influence behavior and performance, regardless of the goal; in other words, to lead. So we must never point toward someone else or an outside circumstance as the cause of our problems. That is called a pointer, not a leader. We must take full responsibility for our own actions, how we perform as a leader, and the overall performance of each individual within our organization.
By John Benson